Luis Alcoriza is best known for his script collaborations with fellow Spaniard Luis Bunuel, having worked on some of Bunuel's more intriguing Mexican films. But in his later life, Alcoriza emerged as one of the leading...展开scenarists of modern Mexican cinema. After 1962 he scripted a number of important films (most of which he directed himself), which are his own peculiar blend of raucous entertainment and pointed social criticism. His unit of analysis is the group which, especially in his post-Bunuel period, he uses to symbolize Mexican society. This is a motif that is discernible in his Bunuel films as early as Los olvidados (the gang of street kids in Mexico City). Similarly, there are the bourgeois guests in El ángel exterminador, mysteriously trapped in their host's drawing-room, the disparate band of refugees lost in the jungle in La Mort en ce jardin, and the political prisoners, bureaucrats, politicians, and hangers-on in the fictional South American dictatorship of La Fièvre monte à El Pao.
But whereas Bunuel's aims were existential, surrealist, and absurdist, Alcoriza's were satirical. Bunuel's films were bleak, detached commentaries on the human animal as he observed it, their undeniably dark side due to the fact that Bunuel's vision did not encompass redemption. Alcoriza's view was more hopeful. His scripts poke fun at human nature (particularly as it expresses itself in the Mexican national character), but like all true satirists, he criticizes in the hope of improving humanity. In Alcoriza's cinematic universe redemption is a goal worth striving for—is the only goal worth striving for. Asked why he chose to write and direct Tarahumara, his semidocumentary film about an isolated Mexican Indian tribe scratching out its meager existence in a remote region of Chihuahua, Alcoriza said: "I am not in agreement with the world in which I have to live, because I do not like our society. Today we try to reach other worlds, the moon, Mars . . . and the most elementary problems—hunger, justice, [human] dignity—have yet to be resolved." But Alcoriza believed this situation could be changed. Accordingly, his body of work reflects healthy indignation rather than Bunuel's typically distressing resignation.
Two of his more illustrious scripts (both for films he directed) are Presagio, coscripted by Gabriel García Márquez, about a village whose inhabitants come to believe that they are living under an evil spell, and Mecánica nacional, the story of a group of automobile racing fans, on their way to see the conclusion of an Acapulco-to-Mexico City auto race, who are thrown together for a day and a long night due to a traffic jam. In these and other Alcoriza films (Tlayucan, Tiburoneros, El oficio más antiguo, Las fuerza vivas) he fills an expansive canvas with a large cast of characters and succeeds in creating a Rabelaisian cross-section of Mexican society.